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Idi AminThe Story of Africa's Icon of Evil$
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Mark Leopold

Print publication date: 2021

Print ISBN-13: 9780300154399

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300154399.001.0001

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The Centre Cannot Hold

The Centre Cannot Hold

President Amin, 1973–76

(p.239) 7 The Centre Cannot Hold
Idi Amin

Mark Leopold

Yale University Press

This chapter illustrates how most of the killings, 'disappearances', and other human rights abuses people associate with Idi Amin occurred in the central years of his rule. It was then that Amin's eccentric behaviour and statements came to worldwide attention and the first books about him were published; in effect, it was the time in which his myth was created, and he became Africa's icon of evil. However, this period was also one for which there is little primary evidence. Between 1973 and the end of Amin's regime, contemporary sources of information increasingly fade away. Gradually, almost all Uganda's academics, journalists, writers, and other intellectuals left the country. Some joined the exile groups based in Tanzania, Kenya, and Zambia, others went to the UK or North America. The British High Commission, whose records are, despite their bias and prejudices, by far the most important source of contemporary material on Amin's Uganda, was operating under severe limitations from 1973 onwards, with frequent expulsions of key staff, and restrictions on travel outside Kampala. Above all, though, it is important to focus on the severe human rights violations that took place in this period.

Keywords:   killings, human rights abuses, Idi Amin, Africa, Uganda, human rights violations

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